Cake Talks Business

Its 12:37am, we are still alert and awake, organizing our papers and plans (and pens). We get asked often if we do miss school. The school days were mostly fun and hassle free (you only kinda realise it when you start working). We never had to really work so hard unless it is for papers. We literally breeze through those days, that they now have become less prominent, a little more distant as we grow older. We take on new responsibilities as young adults, children of our parents, employers, workers, free spirit humans to our country, so on so forth. The years adds on, you realize your opinions and perspective matters much more than before. You become more aware of the news, more empathetic to the world, more interested with what used to be in the past and what's going to go on in the future.

"How has business change you?"
We run a really small business, which means we know every staff on ground, their name, their hobbies, what they do today, what they like and dislike. We had the time and capability to micromanage each individual at the store. That's how small our cake business is.  And people changes you because of the daily interactions you have with them. You learn:
- to be flexible and receptive to changes
- to deal with imperfect humans
- to have a mind of your own
- to be brave to voice out your discontentment

The list goes on, and sometimes you learn to see your own imperfections in others. 

Every year, we would share our experiences on our journey with secondary school students (16 to 17 of age), and every year the sharing is different, the questions we get is different, the students are different. It has made us think through our journey a little deeper, and there are times we question ourselves if we would to deal things a little different then, would it have been better? Well, no one knows. 

So here are a few questions we have gotten frequent, we thought we shall shed some light on it. 

"Have you done anything uncomfortable when running a business?"
You see the thing about braving out on your own, you are unaware how high the tides are or how painful the hurt will be. You dash in with great hope, and often walk out feeling hopeless when we don't see results. We put ourselves in the light of interrogation by our own voices- "you should not have started this in the first place?" "How are you going to answer to the people who matters?" "Why the trouble?" They are all uncomfortable. You take on projects that you have no experience before, that's where you break boundaries. 

"You will never learn anything if you keep doing the same thing over and over again at your own comfort zone. Then you are no different from an electrical appliance. Say for example a kettle, it just keeps boiling water! Learn to be curious, learn to have an interest in learning, ask yourself - "why did it not turn out right?" Figure something out!"

I wouldn't say this in the context of all business, but I will say it in the (smallest) context of running a business out of 1/3 of passion, 1/3 naivety 1/3 of hope and a very tight budget
"You know if you don't try it now, there will never be a next time. You would rather dump all that savings just to see that tiny silver lining then to tell yourself to give up. Wasting 1 year in this holds greater value to you than wasting 1 year doing nothing of your purpose."

"How do you handle social media & tough people on social media?"

Social Media has grown our business at a substantial rate, and allow us to create a brand identity. We are thankful for the creation of social platform! It has created a lot of opportunities for us, allowing us to share our works, and allowing our works to be viewed. 

As for tough people (meaning the ones who are too difficult to handle, no good politeness or courtesy is ever good enough for them) , to be honest, there are days the F words just pops into mind. I believe in all of us, we all have that gangsta side hidden inside (some just have them done expressively), with the visual thought (not intentional) of wallopping somebody in the nuts or head. You just have to suck it up. Be professional about it especially dealing with PEST on social media. You don't handle bad attitude with personal attacks.  No matter how hard it is to ignore the negativity you have experienced, you are still running a business. If it becomes too tough to handle, get somebody else's (who has high level of tolernace & EQ, great at PR for example) to manage your social media account or take a break from it. Respond the next day. 

"What is your take on the cake industry and the competition now with so many home bakers doing what you do?"
If you keep harping on that same few competitors over and over again, the competition appears vicious and tight. The thing is, you can never kick off competition or monopolize the cake industry. There will be new bakers coming up tomorrow. Whether we are worried about the difference in pricing will affect business, for the time being no. We have been keeping ourselves busy creating new works, and finding new ways to improve them. I think worrying about competition does not help your business to grow. We'd rather get back to our kitchen and get creative. 

"Everyone now is dealing with fresh floral cakes, aren't you both worried?"

First, we are happy and glad with how the industry is moving forward with an open-mind about dealing with fresh flowers, intricate gumpaste flowers, wafer flowers, buttercream flowers and paper flowers. No more boring traditional white cake with standard white flowers.  Second, we are well-knowledged with crafting other forms of flowers other than fresh ones. We are still constantly learning, and finding new inspiration to create new cake designs. We do not think we should over rely on one form of decorative to determine the survival of the business. 

"Why only one store after 3 years?"
We always get talked into expansion plans. We shouldn't rush into it. We went into the business with no intention to venture into custom cakes in the first place.  We begin with very little knowledge and very low social media presence. It was not an overnight thing. It doesn't happen that way. 3 years was a good amount of time that we have to teach ourselves the basics of handling the ups and downs of the business, from creating a brand to recreating cakes.
If the time ever comes, and the right person (who shares the same value as us) comes, we may give a second thought. As of now, we are not eager to push the business like popping bottles. We will see how it goes as it moves along day after day. That's the beauty of it isn't it- to venture into the unexpected.

With great love, 
Cupplets Team

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